A Texas woman, who fell in a Newton County cave, was rescued after more than 24 hours with the help of other experienced cave explorers.Newton County Sheriff Glenn Wheeler says 28-year-old Amanda Comer of Austin was exploring a cave Dec. 30th on private property in the northern part of the county with nine other experienced cavers, some of whom travel extensively to visit the underground chambers.
The Harrison Daily times reports the group was some 4,000 feet into the cave when Comer apparently fell about 20 feet beyond some very difficult obstacles. She suffered a broken arm, injured ribs and other injuries.
Wheeler says some members of the group made the arduous trip out to summon help, while the rest of the group stayed behind with Comer.
Those in Comer’s group who made their way out contacted local people in the caving community who, in turn, began rallying personnel to help getting her out.
Wheeler says the nature of the cave made for a difficult and challenging rescue attempt, so much so that even some local cave-rescue trained personnel decided they would not be effective.
That began a process of bringing in specialized teams from out of state, while others in the caving community with these specialized rescue skills responded.
Cavers from across Arkansas and other states as far away as Chattanooga were notified to help, and several other agencies were involved in logistics of obtaining resources.
The rescue went smoothly and actually ended sooner than was originally anticipated, allowing response from some of the other more remote resources to be canceled.
Wheeler says cave rescues are, by nature, very slow processes. Major cave rescues often last for days, and this one had potential to last a lot longer than it did. But, some very experienced folks who knew what they were doing were in the cave with the Texas woman and made the process go much quicker than it was thought it might.
When Comer was finally brought out of the cave, it had been over 26 hours from the time she fell. Once back on terra firma, she was asked to get out of the specialized rescue basket and walk to a waiting ambulance. But she refused treatment and was transported by private vehicle to a hospital.
Wheeler says she was one tough young lady.
The sheriff stresses the experience of Comer and her companions helped make the rescue easier than it could have gone.
Wheeler says this wasn’t a group of inexperienced ‘flashlight cavers’ that didn’t know what they were doing. He says Comer just slipped in a bad location.
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